Joaquin the Joker
Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Jared Leto, and Joaquin Phoenix.
What ties them? The Joker.
Phoenix, whose role of Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005) got him the second of his three Academy Award nominations, is in negotiations to play the iconic DC villain in a standalone film.
Warner Bros and DC are currently in the initial stages of the spin-off, which will tell the origin story of The Joker. The studio had tapped The Hangover director Todd Phillips last year to co-write a script with scribe Scott Silver.
Phillips will also direct the movie to be produced by Martin Scorsese. Phillips has made it clear to the studio that Phoenix is his top choice for the character.
Sources told Variety that Phoenix has agreed after thinking over it. Warner Bros is, however, yet to comment on the casting reports.
This will be the first film under a new banner that has yet to be named in which the studio can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.
The Joker has memorably been part of two Batman movies in the form of Nicholson and Ledger — Batman (1989) and The Dark Knight (2008) — and was most recently, played by Leto in the first Suicide Squad film in 2016. Leto will reprise his role of the supervillain in the Suicide Squad sequel and the Harley Quinn spin-off.